August 29th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) President Luis Guillermo Solis presented his “first 100 days” report to an audience of about 1,000 invited guests yesterday evening, in which he painted a dark picture of corruption, impunity, waste and inefficiency throughout Costa Rica’s government and public institutions.
Solis said that a “litany of abuses and inefficiencies” have created a “breeding ground of corruption” in government.
“In most public offices the disorder is unimaginable,” Solis said.
Solis focused much of his speech on the actions of previous governments and former heads of public institutions, without naming names.
“We have been governed irresponsibly and on many occasions, and in different ways, those who ruled violated the Constitution and the law […] The country was sinking into a spiral of corruption and inefficiency,” Solis said.
“This is not a gratuitous assertion. The judicial statistics demonstrate the fact: in the last eight years, from 2006 to 2013, the Constitutional Court alone, condemned every day – I repeat, every day – an average of ten public institutions or public officials,” Solis said.
Solis went on to give numerous examples of corruption in public institutions.
“We found, for example, that Puertos del Pacifico (Incop) was spending ¢2.4 million monthly to pay for maintenance of a luxury home on the beach,” Solis said.
“In the Ministry of Labor we are paying pensions to people who have died.”
Solis also pointed to abusive practices in the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture, and the Ministry of Agriculture.
Solis went so far as to point out problems in the Casa Presidencial, saying it has “lost” 117 vehicles that even an audit has failed to locate.
“[Costa Ricans] have lived in a democracy hijacked by unscrupulous politicians, often dishonest and almost always inefficient, whose vices and abuses have virtually collapsed the State.”
“The looting must end now,” Solis said.
ON THE ECONOMY
Solis acknowledged that the fiscal deficit, which exceeds 6% of GDP, is an urgent problem, but that inefficiency in government is not the only cause, saying that tax evaders contribute significantly to the deficit.
Solis highlighted the recently presented National Employment Strategy which the new government claims will create 217,000 jobs.
The President said that debates would begin next month on diversifying the country’s energy matrix with the goal of reducing electricity and fuel costs.
Solis concluded his speech by telling Costa Ricans that the challenges facing his administration are significant and would require time to address, asking the public to limit undue criticism early on in his administration.
Analysts and opposition party lawmakers criticized Solis’ report, saying the President did not provide any concrete plans or roadmap for the future.